Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Malaysia targets 555,000 Filipino tourists in 2011

Manila Bulletin

CEBU CITY, Cebu — Tourism stakeholders in Malaysia are aggressively urging Cebuanos to take advantage of affordable airfare rates to visit their country.

“We see Cebu as an important market for Malaysia being a hub for Southern Philippines and we are optimistic that with low airfare rates and travel packages, we can get a significant number of tourists from Cebu,” said Zakaria Mohd Nani head of the Tourism Board Malaysia and Deputy Director for International Marketing Division (South East Asia).

The Malaysia Tourism Promotion Board recently opened its one-month customer assistance stall facility at the Ayala Center Cebu, in partnership with budget airline Cebu Pacific (CEB). The move is intended to increase Filipino tourists going to Malaysia this year.

Nani said this year, Malaysia is targeting about 555,000 Filipinos to visit the country’s neighbor in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) region.

Over the years, Filipino tourist arrivals to Malaysia have increased, he told reporters during the launch of said facility. In 2010 alone, a total of 486,790 Filipinos visited Malaysia, which is about a nine percent improvement compared to figures recorded in 2009.

The Cebu consumer promotion facility dubbed “Suroy-Suroy sa Malaysia Bai” hopes to encourage more Cebuanos to visit this exciting and leading tourist destination in the ASEAN. Special tour packages with airfares, hotel accommodations, and tours are made available.

The travel display is being organized by Ayala Center Cebu and Selrahco Management under its “Travel and Beyond” program.

Masrina Mohd Bakri, Director for Tourism Malaysia and Cultural Attache with the Embassy of Malaysia in the Philippines, said that aside from culture, food, and sites, Cebuanos can also capitalize on their “home stay” program allowing tourists to merge with the Malaysian culture in farms and coastal villages, among other sites.

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